First, let's start off with: I, as a piano teacher for 7 years, absolutely love every step of my growing journey. It is so amazing, and I feel so blessed to be able to say that I teach piano for a living, being immersed with the sounds of the piano and to play piano almost every day of my life. I don't even consider this as a "job" because I love it so much! It is so rewarding to be able to witness musical growth of children, to guide these musical curious beings to discover all the wonders of the piano, to see them create mini-songs by placing sounds they enjoy in certain patterns, to play music games with them so they learn their music notes in a fun way. :)
One part that I do not love very much, is dealing with questions of high lesson rates.
Piano Lessons at Music Lesson Centres average from $22-25 per 30 minutes, which seems pretty fair and affordable from a parent's perspective.
If they are to switch to private lessons at the teacher's studio, it can range from $23-25 per 30 minutes, also fair and affordable.
Private lessons at the students home, will average about $30-50 per 30 minutes. Now this may seem a little high, especially if you consider a young beginning student, however, what the parent often neglects to factor in are the costs that also come with the teacher driving to the clients home. Also the huge benefits of home lessons with not having to get your child ready to leave the house, packing all the books, potentially a snack, arranging a ride to and from the lesson, dealing with traffic, gas, etc. etc. etc. Thinking about how easy it is afterall to have the convenience of a teacher come to your home at a weekly scheduled time, well, it might be worth paying that extra $15-25.
A good friend and colleague of mine opened up a commercial music studio space, transferred her existing home studio students there and had to raise the lesson rate -not by much, mind you, only by a few dollars, in order to cover the cost of rent. She then had a number of parents complaining about the raise, commenting it was getting more expensive.
Now, if those parents were to actually sit down and think from a business point of view, of what it takes to actually run a business, they might understand:
-monthly costs of space rental
-hydro for electricity and heat
-running water for bathrooms
- purchasing pianos and the tuning that is involved when so many students take turns playing on it
-internet and possibly free wifi
-technology items that may be used for lessons (metronome, iPad, theory game materials)
-the cost of recitals that take place per year...
now for 'behind the scenes':
-costs of re-painting walls
-cleaning the space and all the cleaning supplies that need to be purchased to do this task
-time spent on invoices PER STUDENT
-time going to the bank
-time spent at music stores buying books for students
-photocopies as needed
-finding times for makeup lessons
..... the list goes on.
At giant corporations, they hire several people to do these individual jobs, but as a self-employed music teacher, we do all these things (and more!) on our own.
Not to forget all the education that needed to be accomplished, (at least I hope your music teacher is qualified!)
-Piano lessons for the teacher growing up... this adds up quickly, and can be from 15-20 years of lessons
-Royal Conservatory Examination fees along with piano lessons
-University Education to obtain Degrees in Music, Education, other
-Other musical courses and training outside of regular schooling
We as an individual person are required to cover several roles:
With the standard of living and general cost of everything (groceries, etc) set so high here in this city, let's say you had to pay each job a liveable wage of $20 per hour (minimum!), that's $100+ per hour. A teacher doing all those tasks and only charging $60, even $70 per hour is quite a deal if you look at it this way.
Perhaps if your teacher is not qualified with a sound educational background, I can understand that $70 is quite high and not called for, but if the teacher has a solid musical background, attended University to obtain qualifications, as well as is qualified by the RCM having achieved the ARCT, then it is quite fair to pay a higher rate per lesson, as the knowledge they have to offer and the sources of musical information is almost infinite, if the fit is right with your child, it is something that's really quite invaluable.
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